Cardi B

Interesting Vox article on how Cardi B works hard for her shmoney.  It sadly didn’t try to connect Cardi B to any female artists beyond Beyonce.  Perhaps if Constance Grady had looked back a bit further to the 1970s or 1980s could have made connections between Cardi B with someone like Madonna or Donna Summer, both of whom have more relevance to understanding Cardi B than do comparisons with her contemporaries.  Grady has plenty of other stories, however, that make some great historical/modern day connections.

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Susanna Calkins – Historical Fiction Writer to Speak at Berry College

Copy of Live Concert

Dr. Calkins holds a Ph.D. in history from Purdue University and works at the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching at Northwestern University.  She writes an award-winning series for Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press featuring a chambermaid turned printer’s apprentice in seventeenth-century England. Currently, she is working on a new series set in 1920s Chicago.  Her website is: http://www.susannacalkins.com/

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Infographic Syllabus

After being inspired by a couple of different things I’ve read and some examples from people who have done similar things, I’ve turned my syllabi this year in less ‘wordy contracts’ and more infograph.  Mind you there are still lots of words on the syllabus – but it is less wordy than previously, the font is bigger, and it should stand out from the other syllabi students will be receiving.

Made with Piktochart – better control over look and design.
Made with MS Word – not exactly what I wanted.
Syllabus for same course that was used last semester.

I used Piktochart to create it, after a failed first attempt using word.  They have lots of snazzy templates, but I couldn’t really find something I ‘loved’.  Therefore, I ended up building something from scratch.  I based the color scheme and lots of the design elements off of pages from old books (especially books with pictures).  I’m pretty satisfied with the final product, although it took much longer to produce than usual.  Hopefully, in the future it won’t be so time consuming.  Here is a link to the full-size version.

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Who do they think is going to do this?

While working on my book manuscript today I ran across a letter from Sophonisba Breckinridge, a University of Chicago professor, to the famous Chicago social worker, Jane Addams.  In this letter she mentions Carrie Chapman Catt sending her a book manuscript that Catt believed needed a lot of work.  I thought Breckinridge’s question, “Who do they think is going to do this?” Might be equivalent to saying “Presume much?” today.

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Reading Strategically in College and Grad School

This post is primary focused on how grad students should go about tackling the tremendous amount of the reading they need to do.  It offers some advice, however, that undergrads should probably take to heart.

My piece of advice is:

“Reading without taking notes is time wasted. Taking notes on your reading will help you process the information more deeply. In graduate school, the purpose of reading is not to learn definitions or simple facts, but instead to develop a deep understanding of concepts and to be able to apply those ideas to your work. To do that, you cannot simply passively read texts. Taking notes and annotating your texts while reading will help you think deeply about what you read. Good note taking will also save you time in the future. Marking useful quotes or annotating your readings well means you will not have to read that same text over again to find the main points.”

Source: Reading Strategically | Graduate Connections | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Jack Daniel’s and African American History


Even if Jack Daniel’s is only doing this as a marketing move, I love how it acknowledges some of the real accomplishments and influence of slaves in creating Southern culture/life.

On its 150th anniversary, the Tennessee whiskey distillery concedes that its official history didn’t tell the whole story of its origins.

Source: Jack Daniel’s Embraces a Hidden Ingredient: Help From a Slave – The New York Times

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Led Zeppelin Not Guilty of Stealing ‘Stairway’ Rift

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were found not guilty of stealing the guitar rift for Stairway to Heaven from the song Taurus by Spirit. There probably is enough difference that you can’t PROVE their guilt, but it is pretty darn similar. I’ve linked to Taurus so you can judge for yourself.

https://open.spotify.com/track/56LAHIIyWXTg7vYmVSGBUf

Source: The Latest: Led Zeppelin thankful ‘Stairway’ rift is settled

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Obama invokes history in eulogy for Charleston pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

President Obama’s rhetoric about history in his eulogy at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the College of Charleston’s campus.

Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the south, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

What is true in the south is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other; that my liberty depends on you being free, too.

That — that history can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more importantly, an open heart.

Source: Transcript: Obama delivers eulogy for Charleston pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

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Less humanities for engineers ?

At times I get the feeling that my colleagues in math and the sciences don’t value the type of learning and knowledge that is taught in history, literature, and political science.  I’m really pleased to see this group of engineering faculty standing up for the idea that their students will be less valuable as employees (and perhaps as members of society) with a general education that doesn’t require coursework in the humanities.

Of course at the heart of this change is the idea of ‘accreditation’ and having demonstrable learning competencies.  This is just one of hundreds of examples of how the demand that colleges “prove” students know something is actually weakening students’ educations.

Source: Faculty members criticize proposed changes to gen ed accreditation standards for engineers | InsideHigherEd

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…not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed.

We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.

We should speak of it as an assault on the idea of a political commonwealth, which is what it was. And we should speak of it as one more example of all of these, another link in a bloody chain of events that reaches all the way back to African wharves and Southern docks. It is not an isolated incident, not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed.

Source: Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable

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Associate Professor of History, Berry College